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Alternative forms[edit]

  • wooly (chiefly used in the US, but less common than woolly even there)


Etymology 1[edit]

From Middle English wolly, equivalent to wool +‎ -y. Cognate with Saterland Frisian wullich (woolly), Dutch wollig (woolly), German wollig (woolly), Swedish ullig (woolly).


woolly (comparative woollier, superlative woolliest)

  1. Made of wool.
    Put on a woolly jumper and turn down the thermostat.
  2. Having a thick, soft texture, as if made of wool.
    woolly hair
    There was nothing left in the fruit bowl but a brown banana and a couple of woolly pears.
  3. (figuratively) Of thinking, principles, etc, based on emotion rather than logic.
    That's the sort of woolly thinking that causes wars to start.
  4. (figuratively) Unclear, fuzzy, hazy, cloudy.
  5. (obsolete) Clothed in wool.
    • Shakespeare
      woolly breeders
Derived terms[edit]


woolly (plural woollies)

  1. (informal) A sweater or similar garment made of wool
  2. (US, slang) A sheep not yet shorn.
  3. A piece of woolwork.

Etymology 2[edit]

From woolyback.


woolly (plural woollies)

  1. (Liverpudlian slang, derogatory) A woolly back; someone from the area around Liverpool, not from Liverpool itself.